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What is Graphene Oxide

Graphene oxide is a strong substance comprised of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, graphite oxide is made by treating graphite with powerful oxidizers. Graphene oxide is the term used for graphite oxide when it is formed into thin, paper-like sheets. The refinement of graphene oxide that opens up many new practical applications and commercial possibilities.

Graphene oxide history

Graphite oxide was pioneered by the English chemist Benjamin Brodie. In 1859, Brodie first prepared this substance by combining graphite, potassium chlorate and nitric acid. 1957 saw the development of an improved method for preparing graphite oxide called the Hummers’ Method. In the early 21st century, a number of breakthroughs have made graphene more practical, efficient and affordable than ever before.

How graphene oxide is formed

Stirring and sonication are the two most popular methods for creating graphene oxide from graphite oxide. Sonication is a process whereby particles are agitated with sound waves, which are typically ultrasonic in nature. One problem with sonication is the fact that this process can damage graphene flakes and produce an inconsistent final product. Mechanical stirring avoids these problems but this process is often extremely time-consuming. People may combine stirring and sonication for a practical compromise.

Graphene oxide vs graphite oxide

Graphene oxide differs from graphite oxide in the fact that graphene oxide is a flat layer of material which ideally features just one layer of carbon. In actual practice, it is difficult to convert graphite oxide into an oxidized product with just one layer. For this reason, graphene oxide also refers to graphite oxide that is reduced to eight or less layers of separated carbon.

Future of graphene oxide

The development of graphene oxide is critical to unlock the future of graphene. As scientists develop better methods for creating graphene oxide, graphene will aid a wide variety of technical developments. In the future, people could use graphene to develop bioelectric sensor devices for the human body. These sensors could monitor glucose levels, cholesterol levels and other important health indicators.

In the more foreseeable future, we will see the commercial-scale production of LCD displays that use graphene. A conductive and nearly transparent material, graphene is far better at conducting electricity than silicon. With advanced graphene materials, companies could easily make folding displays and folding televisions or network-connected newspapers that load new items of interest each day. One could even imagine graphene shower curtains that project images wirelessly. These are just a few of the many, many prospective applications of graphene oxide. In the years ahead, scientists will work tirelessly to develop this material to its full potential.

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